Research

APPLIED MICROECONOMICS

Empirical Industrial Organization

Does Information Mitigate Behavioral Gaps Due to Market Inexperience: Evidence from a Field Experiment (With Forrest Spence)
Preliminary Draft: Textbook Field Experiment

We collect detailed individual level purchasing and search data on 2,449 consumers in the UNC-Chapel Hill textbook market. A random subset of these consumers were provided with information about the price of their assigned textbook from various retailers before the semester began. We use these data to compare the search and purchasing outcomes of consumers who received information from their instructors (treatment group) with outcomes of consumers who did not receive this information (control group). We find that (i) information leads to more online search and online purchases, (ii) the informational treatment reduces the gap in online search and purchasing behavior between consumers across experience levels, and (iii) the treatment increases take-up of the textbook at the extensive margin.

Tuition Optimization in Higher Education

Preliminary Draft: College Price Optimization

This paper uses a structural model to explore third degree price discrimination in post-secondary education costs, both in a demand and supply context. Theoretically, an equilibrium exists such that students will be stratified by ability and income across a spectrum of schools differentiated by tuition price and prestige. Students with higher price elasticities-caused by lower incomes and/or higher abilities-will receive education at lower costs whereas students with lower price elasticities-caused by higher incomes and/or lower abilities-will receive education at higher costs. The proposed model provides a framework for understanding how students match with universities.  A brief discussion of possible data to be used for empirical research in the future is provided and additional research and preliminary considerations are reported in the appendices.

 

Health Economics

Employer Provided Health Incentives 

Preliminary Draft: Health Incentives

This paper explores the participation in employer provided health incentive programs and the choices made by individuals offered these benefits. The theory presented in this paper models the decisions to exercise, eat well, and get educated about improving one’s health. There is a brief discussion on possible data to be used for empirical research in the future at the end.